Outstanding. Spectacular. Gorillaz first tour in nearly seven years was worth the wait. It was a superlative frenzy as Damon Albarn brought his massive musical assemble to Brighton.
With the Humanz tour selling out at the speed of light, so much talk has been about the variety of musicians who had featured over the American and UK tour. From Carly Simon to Noel Gallagher, the tour is a fantastic example of how Albarn has been inviting artists from all genres of music to step in and perform live.
For the Brighton show, fans were treated with two thirds of De La Soul, who enthusiastically came running on stage pumping the crowd for ‘Superfast Jellyfish’ and ‘Feel Good Inc,’ though it was the lesser known artists who stood out in this meticulous masterclass of music.
With a solid base next to Albarn, he had six backup singers, two guitarists and two drummers on stage, plus the ever-changing front artists throughout. Behind the artists, the artwork and visuals are stunning, which is expected with the Gorillaz image. Carefully created and in sync to the music, the stimuli only exacerbate the wonderful feeling the music creates inside you. Bruce Willis even appears at one point looking like Butch Coolidge from Pulp Fiction. The resonance that something as simple as this creates is all part of the emotional ride Albarn is taking you on.
Diversity in music, diversity in artists, it is hard to remember a show that was genuinely that good and offered so much.
After a few songs, ‘Rhinestone Eyes’ is used to bring down the tempo that has been created by the raucous opening of ‘M1 A1.’ It was the first time in the evening that you got to hear the beauty and softly spoken voice of Albarn. With the band behind him, the synths created are joyous and got everyone moving.
‘Tomorrow comes today’ followed fittingly and with the harmonica accentuating the chorus, it already felt like we’ve been through a variety of genres and emotions already, and only four tracks had been played.
Every track sounds musically exquisite and is worth mentioning, and with the constant change of artists throughout the set, the gig never gets flat for even one moment. Covering the best songs of all five albums, even some B-tracks, no fan left upset.
Effortlessly running through hip hop and soul sections, it was Little Simz spitting bars on ‘Garage Palace’ that stood out. With the BPM turned up to drum n bass levels, London based Little Simz came running out on stage rapping with speed and with remarkable clarity. It was safe to say the Brighton Centre was bouncing.
Like ‘Strobelite’ earlier in the show, Peven Everett took centre stage for ‘Stylo’ showcasing his soulful voice and yet again adding another layer to the show that just kept giving.
After the pause for the encore, and a couple of tracks, ‘Clint Eastwood’ was dropped before opting for a poetic and empathetic ending, choosing ‘Don’t Get Lost In Heaven’ and ‘Demon Days’ to close the show.
‘Don’t Get Lost In Heaven’ was simply euphoric and touching. The 6 backup singers, the guitar riff, the piano lick and Albarn’s voice made this a moment that crowned an evening of near musical perfection. It was a moment of bliss that made your hairs stand to attention.
With the plethora of musicians who have appeared over the tour, Damon Albarn deserves so much credit for creating a very unique evening of ridiculously high-quality music. Albarn didn’t say more than two words to the crowd the entire evening, as sometimes, like this case, it’s best to let the music do the talking.